Tesla roadsters charging at the company's Palo Alto headquarters.
John Upton
Tesla roadsters charging at the company’s Palo Alto headquarters.

If you build a new home in Tesla Motors’ hometown, your electrician is going to need to wire it up for an electric vehicle charger.

The Palo Alto, Calif., City Council recently endorsed a building-code change that would require builders to include wiring in new homes that can easily be connected to a charger. The council also directed city staff to figure out how to make it easier and cheaper to obtain permits for new EV chargers.

To wire a new house for an electric vehicle charger, it costs under $200 — a quarter of the price tag for installing a charger at an existing home, Palo Alto Mayor Greg Scharff told the San Jose Mercury News.

Vice Mayor Nancy Shepherd said she received a phone call from a resident who had installed a curbside charger for public use. The electric-bike fanatic said the charger was a big hit in his neighborhood — but that obtaining the permit cost him hundreds of dollars. The council also heard that a Unitarian Universalist Church paid $459 for a permit needed to install its electric vehicle charger. Ouch. That “seems like a lot,” Council Member Liz Kniss deadpanned.

“Let’s figure out as a council what we can do to remove the obstacles to owning electric vehicles in Palo Alto,” Scharff said. “I think what we really need to do is make it convenient, easy, and economical.”

The council then voted 9 to 0 to endorse the changes, and sent a memo directing city staff to rewrite the building code and permitting rules accordingly.